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Acacia drepanocarpa

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Acacia drepanocarpa F.Muell., J. Proc. Linn. Soc ., Bot. 3: 137 (1859)

Resinous shrub to 3 m high. Branchlets apically angular, yellowish, glabrous, often scurfy; ridges often minutely resin-crenulated (mainly subsp. latifolia ). Phyllodes linear to narrowly elliptic, 2.5–13 cm long, (1–) 1.5–12.2 mm wide, with margin indented at gland, with 3–5 prominent, raised nerves, the minor nerves 2 per mm, raised, anastomosing in broad phyllodes; gland 1, to 10 (–22) mm above pulvinus. Spikes 1.5–4.5 cm long, pale to bright yellow. Flowers 5-merous; calyx 0.7–1.2 mm long, dissected to 1/3–1/4, glabrous; corolla 1–1.8 mm long, dissected to 1/4–1/3, glabrous; ovary villous to glabrous. Pods linear-oblanceolate, flat, 5–9 cm long, 5.5–9 mm wide, thick, coriaceous to thinly woody, obliquely nerved, glabrous, resin-encrusted, opening elastically from apex. Seeds oblique, narrowly oblong-elliptic, 5–8 mm long, dark brown; pleurogram with narrow, pale halo; areole elongated, open, blackish brown; funicle-aril narrowly conical.

Occurs in northern Australia from La Grange (c. 100 km SW of Broome ), W.A., E to Wollogorang Stn (near Qld border), N.T., and to near Barkly Downs Stn, (c. 50 km E of N.T. border), Qld.  Acacia drepanocarpa subsp. latifolia generally occurs further inland than does subsp. drepanocarpa.

The Henne specimens (as A. drepanocarpa ) from Qld cited by G.Bentham, Fl. Austral . 2: 402 (1864), are Acacia polyadenia , fide L.Pedley, Austrobaileya 2: 322 (1987). This species is only known from three islands from the Lindeman, Whitsunday and Palm Group off the Qld coast.

Acacia drepanocarpa is a member of the ‘ A. stigmatophylla group’. There are 2 subspecies.

Phyllodes 20–50  x as long as broad, 5–13.1 cm long, 1.5–3.5 (–4.2) mm wide

subsp. drepanocarpa

Phyllodes 5–20  x as long as broad, mostly 4–7 cm long, 3.6–12.2 mm wide

subsp. latifolia


Acacia drepanocarpa F.Muell. subsp. drepanocarpa

Stipules 0.2–0.6 mm long. Phyllodes linear, (2.5–) 5–13 cm long, mostly 1.5–4.2 mm wide, 20–50  x as long as broad, acute, with prominent midnerve and sometimes 1 or 2 parallel, semiprominent nerves and 2–6 minor nerves; gland 0.5–22 mm above pulvinus.

Occurs in tropical Australia in northern Qld, the Barkly region N.T., and between Broome and Port Hedland, W.A. Grows on sandplains, in spinifex grassland, in red-brown sand and laterite soil. Flowers May–Aug.

A specimen collected from Burra Ra., N Qld, May 1973, D.Hanger (NSW) is a doubtful record requiring further investigation.

Type of accepted name

Roper R., [N.T., N Qld on NSW label], 23 July 1856, F.Mueller 27 ; holo: MEL; iso: K, NSW.


Racosperma drepanocarpum (F.Muell.) Pedley, Austrobaileya 2: 348 (1987); R. drepanocarpum (F.Muell.) Pedley subsp. drepanocarpum , loc. cit. Type: as for accepted name.


F.Mueller, Iconogr. Austral. Acacia dec. 11 [pl. 10] (1888), as to fruit illustrations only (flowers belong to A. polyadenia , fide L.Pedley, Austrobaileya 2: 322, 1987); J.R.Wheeler, in J.R.Wheeler (ed.) et al ., Fl. Kimberley Region 318, fig. 92B1 (1992).

Representative collections

W.A.: La Grange, F.Lullfitz 6218 (CANB, NSW, PERTH); 121 km N of Sandfire Roadhouse, B.R.Maslin 2697 (BRI, NSW, PERTH); N of Great Sandy Desert, Great Northern Hwy, c. La Grange Mission turnoff, I.V.Newman 660 (NSW). N.T.: 11 miles [17.6 km] NE of Alexandria Stn, R.A.Perry 1478 (CANB, NSW, NT); 55 miles [88 km] NE of Creswell Stn, R.A.Perry 1677 (BRI, CANB, NSW, PERTH).


Acacia drepanocarpa subsp. latifolia Pedley, Contr. Queensland Herb . 15: 10; 20, fig. 2A & 24, fig. 6 (1974)

Stipules 0.5–1.0 mm long. Phyllodes narrowly elliptic to narrowly oblanceolate, (3.5–) 4–7 cm long, 3.6–12.2 mm wide, 5–20  x as long as broad, subacute to obtuse and mucronate, with 3 (–5) raised, main longitudinal nerves, the minor nerves subprominent, occasionally anastomosing; gland 0.2–2 mm above pulvinus.

Occurs in W.A. between 18S and 2051’S, in the N.T. between 1440’S and 19S and 129E and 134E, but also N to Katherine and SW to ‘Soudan’, extending into northern parts of the Great Sandy and Tanami Deserts in those states; in Qld only recorded from Pilpah Hills, Burke District (c. 50 km E of N.T. border). Grows in red, sandy soils, on laterite or sandstone, on gravelly plains, in eucalypt woodland, low scrub or shrub-grassland, often with spinifex. Flowers Mar.–Aug.

Type of accepted name

36 miles [57.6 km] W [of] Soudan [Stn], N.T., 21 June 1960, G.Chippendale NT7307 ; holo: BRI; iso: NSW, NT n.v .


Racosperma drepanocarpum subsp. latifolium (Pedley) Pedley, Austrobaileya 2: 348 (1987). Type: as for accepted name.


L.Pedley, op. cit . 24, fig. 6 (1974); J.R.Wheeler, in J.R.Wheeler (ed.) et al ., Fl. Kimberley Region 318, fig. 92B2 (1992).

Representative collections

W.A.: 20 miles [32 km] W of Louisa Downs HS, J.R.Maconochie 1155 (NSW, NT, PERTH) ; Carranya Stn camping area, P.G.Wilson 861 & R.Rowe (NSW, PERTH, Z). N.T.: 10 miles [16 km] [from] South Daly Waters, N.Byrnes 1595 (NSW, NT); 105 km E [of] Top Springs, G.P.Guymer 659 (NE, NSW). Qld: Pilpah Hills, ‘Barkly Downs’, L.Pedley 1078 (BRI).


WATTLE Acacias of Australia CD-ROM graphic

The information presented here originally appeared on the WATTLE CD-ROM which was jointly published by the Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra, and the Department of Parks and Wildlife, Perth; it was produced by CSIRO Publishing from where it is available for purchase. The WATTLE custodians are thanked for allowing us to post this information here.

Page last updated: Thursday 22 June 2023